There’s a Gillray caricature of Sir William Hamilton as an ancient Roman vase, published in May 1801 and entitled “From Sir Wllm Hamilton’s Collection”. We see only the back of his green coat tapering down. His shoulders are enormously broad with gold epaulettes at each tip and his body then bulges round in the classical … Continue reading William Hamilton as a Roman Vase
I’m going through a phase of reading thrillers and only thrillers. I love the craft of them. I love the page-turning anxiety. I love a flawed but ridiculously competent protagonist; moral but occasionally indecent; a rough diamond. I love it when the story speeds along, twisting and turning, swerving left and right but never … Continue reading Investigating 1930s Berlin
I popped into the Wallace Collection yesterday, after having lunch with my brother near Oxford Street, and found myself entranced by the erotic miniatures in the Boudoir Cabinet. Nestled between the Study and the Boudoir on the first floor of Hertford House is a windowless, murky room where paintings small enough to hold in your … Continue reading Naked Nymphs and Horny Satyrs
I went into a hiking and outdoors shop a couple of weeks ago to buy a head torch for my daughter. And as I was paying, a rectangular, flat packet in blue and white plastic next to the till caught my eye. “Romney’s Kendal Mint Cake” was emblazoned in white on dark blue across the … Continue reading George Romney and the Kendal Mint Cake
London in the 18th century was a city of spectacle and display. Any interest or inclination, albeit scientific, prurient or thrill seeking, could be satisfied for money. And perhaps one of the most grotesque of these popular distractions was the exhibition of unnatural humans: "monsters" or "freaks".
Nowadays, not wearing underpants is a statement. It’s an act of seduction or daring or extreme forgetfulness. Going commando is whispered and giggled about. It’s funny and possibly sexy and definitely out of the ordinary. However, in the 18th century, respectable women didn’t wear pants, only whores did. When I first started looking into clothing, … Continue reading Respectable Women Don’t Wear Pants
It took me by surprise, her bracelet of woven hair. I was meandering through the brilliant — and, sadly, finished — exhibition, Emma Hamilton, Seduction and Celebrity, at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Slowly moving between the many cabinets of silver trinkets and china souvenirs from Germany and the love letters. The oil paintings … Continue reading Bracelet of woven hair